Turkey Vultures at a Corral, Hillside Canada Goose and a Red-tailed Hawk Fly Over

/, Box Elder County, Canada Geese, Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Utah/Turkey Vultures at a Corral, Hillside Canada Goose and a Red-tailed Hawk Fly Over

Turkey Vulture on the rail of an old corralTurkey Vulture on the rail of an old corral – Nikon D500, f8, 1/400, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Yesterday morning was bright and sunny and I had fun photographing Turkey Vultures at a corral, a hillside Canada Goose and a Red-tailed Hawk flying over with nesting materials in northern Utah.

Turkey Vultures roosting on the rails of an old corral seems iconic to the American West and I couldn’t pass up photographing the two vultures in the sweet light of dawn. No need to pass them up when pixels are cheap, right?

Turkey Vulture greeting the sun at an old corralTurkey Vulture greeting the sun at an old corral – Nikon D500, f8, 1/400, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The textures of the old rails of the corral just look “right” with these vultures and the morning light brought out all the details of the vulture’s plumage and the bark of the wood used to make the corral.

Turkey Vulture roosting on an old corralTurkey Vulture roosting on an old corral – Nikon D500, f8, 1/320, ISO 200, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The two vultures were far enough apart that I couldn’t get them both in the same frame with my long lens so I photographed them individually. I saw lots of Turkey Vultures on the wing yesterday and many of them were rocking back and forth while soaring on the thermals. It is nice to have Nature’s clean up crew back again.

Turkey Vulture with nictitating membrane showingTurkey Vulture with nictitating membrane showing – Nikon D500, f8, 1/320, ISO 200, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Normally I don’t save many images of birds that show their exposed nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, but I found the bluish, purplish color of the membrane interesting because it nearly matches the exposed, wrinkled skin on the top of the vulture’s head. I’d never noticed that before yesterday morning.

Canada Goose on a spring hillsideCanada Goose on a spring hillside – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Canada Geese are common throughout most of North America, they are so common that many people ignore them as best they can and some photographers won’t bother to stop to photograph them which I find a little odd because they are birds after all but what isn’t common in other parts to the country is to see and be able to photograph Canada Geese on high cliff faces, rocky promontories and steep hillsides that are found in the Great Basin area. Add a mix of spring grasses, lichens and the yellows of wildflowers and the common becomes uncommon.

Red-tailed Hawk flying over with nesting materialsRed-tailed Hawk flying over with nesting materials – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And what bird photographer could resist raising their lens to a Red-tailed Hawk flying over with nesting materials? Not this one. Not yesterday, today or any day that I have the chance. The composition isn’t ideal, I would have liked more room on the right side of the frame so that the end of the branch in the hawk’s beak showed but there are times that images like this work and I think this one does.

Life is good. I love being a bird photographer.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte April 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    The vulture is intriguing…but the hawk is a show-stopper. All great pics. Thx.

  2. Elephants Child April 11, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    It looks like a truly wonderful day.
    And hooray for the much maligned clean-up crew, who have a grace and style of their own.

  3. Patty Chadwick April 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Sorry for double comments…don’t know why that happens…except for the fact that thiscevil iPad HATES me…

  4. Patty Chadwick April 11, 2017 at 9:51 am

    The scabby-looking bark on the “new” corral rail seems a fitting perch for a vulture…nothing rides the thermals as beautifully as they do…love the Canada goose –in what looks like an unlikely place, the rocks…we see them in grassy places. I love the subtle coloring if these big birds…like sumie paintings. Nice shots of the hawk bent on redecorating with more nesting material…must be awkward carrying something that long in its beak….

    Also Love, love, love shots of Meadowlarks in silver sage !(?) in shots alongside of today’s posting…feeling hungry for bird song and sun warmth…

  5. Patty Chadwick April 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

    The scabby-looking bark on the “new” corral rail seems a fitting perch for a vulture…nothing rides the thermals as beautifully as they do…love the Canada goose –in what looks like an unlikely place, the rocks…we see them in grassy places. I love the subtle coloring if these big birds…like sumie paintings. Nice shots of the hawk bent on redecorating with more nesting material…must be awkward carrying something that long in its beak….

  6. Gordon April 11, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Fantastic, the Turkey vulture looks like a bespectacled old man sat on the fence, but my favourite has to be the Hawk, great shot.
    All the best Gordon.

  7. Bob mcpherson April 11, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Beautiful photos, MiA.

  8. Esther April 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Great photos of vultures.. they show character!

  9. suzanne Mcdougal April 11, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Nice! Being back at work ruins all my photography fun. I will live vicariously through you and your superior, lovely photos.Thanks for sharing.

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